What can be better than going out with a family on a picnic together in one car and that too with premiumness, comfort and good ride quality. Gone are the days when you had to book a van, tavera, or even two cars for a big family of 7 or 8 people. The automotive industry introduced the segment called MPV or MUV for the indian families few years back. And how could Maruti which is the undisputed king of the Indian market stay behind in this race. They inroduced the Ertiga in 2012 which is now doing wonders in the market. I am going to review the ZDI variant of the car bought last year.
Looks - Looking at ertiga overall it isn't pleasant to the eyes and is not the most good looking car. The model that i have which is old now is very average from the front as there is no chrome grill, the space where fog lights are fixed looks completely out of space. The headlights are quite okay but could have been a lot better. Moving on to side angle and the car is still not able to catch you attention. Looking at it you would realise that how small is the front part of the car when you see it from the front wheels. understandably Maruti didn't want to extend the length of the car so the front of the car was kept shorter but you have to admit it that it looks quite odd. However having said that the windows are nicely designed which somehow grabs the attention. The back of the car is also very ordinary with very small and average looking tail lamps, Also at the bumper of the car there are three red colour light indicators which makes the bumper itself look very boring and adds to monotony of the car. On whole the looks of the car are not impressive. However the new model introduced is much better from front and back but still is not delight to watch.
Performance and Mileage - The most important factor while buying a car and most of the Indian buyers consider it to be the foremost factor. The ertiga scores here and scores very well. Powered by diesel motor of 1248cc diesel engine producing 90PS of powers at 200nm of torque delivers very good output. The noise vibration levels are on lower side considering that it is a diesel motor. You are not much bothered by the noise produced, however little noise still commutes to the cabin when the car is driven at higher speeds. What can surprise you is the way car picks up from the 2nd gear and then you are on a roller coaster ride. It is fun to drive on highway, the suspension levels are quite good, gear shifting is smooth and ride and handling is excellent. It drives well in cities as well but i refrain myself from doing that considering its size. There is one big concern though which is the way it under performs in the hilly areas. I was shocked to see its performance uphill where it asks too much to shift gears and doesn't really produces the power needed. The mileage is 20kmpl which is excellent considering the amount of people it carries and its weight. So in nutshell great asset on highway but a disappointment uphill.
Space and comfort - Let us talk about the middle row first as this is the most seated when you are going out for long journey. The knee room is not generous but enough, shoulder room is big disappointment if three people are sitting. you tend to sit tighter with shoulders striking with each other. Although head room is very good even for taller guys. Moving to the last row and you realise straightaway that it is not for adults planning to go for long distance journeys. The seats are not that comfortable due to inadequate legroom and shoulder room, however kids would enjoy the last row. The car claims to be 8 seater but i would recommend going with 5 adults and 2-3 kids. Overall sitting experience won't be bad as the cushioning is not what to complain about but can become clumsier as the legroom and shoulder room is not decent.
Safety and features - The car gets the front airbags, ABS with EBD, anti theft alarms and rear camera which is praiseworthy and can be countered on the safety factor. Talking in terms of features, it has built in music system with Integrated 2DIN Audio which is good, has the basic amenities like bluetooth, auxillary output and USB. however electric folding rear view mirror is missing which is again a big drawback.
Verdict - if you are an indian family who likes to go out on holiday more often and also want an affordable bet to the pocket in terms of diesel usage then Ertiga is the car for you. It drives well, economy wise excellent, has the necessary features and most important has the Maruti tag. However space and comfort can be an issue so is the driving it uphill. So think before you buy it because there's innova as well if you can manage some more bucks.
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